Osterhout’s response was, “We can debate some of the unit costs…that’s something that could be added. There is a decent amount of grading to be done…to bring that site up and flatten it out, it’s a very steep slope there right now.”
According to said John Scovo, town director of the Planning Department, one of the steepest areas of the site has about a 15 percent slope and is near the southern perimeter of the site.
“There will be excavation though to build the hotel too, so it’s not like you have to purchase soil,” said Ferraro, pointing out that it could be reused.
“It could be,” responded Osterhout.
“There’s a fair amount of fill that we’re going to need to do so I don’t think we necessarily think that there’s all of this soil that will be available. … at $136,000, we certainly view that as a reasonably expensive sidewalk for this size of project. We’re certainly looking to accommodate the town but would look to your guidance as far as your viewpoint on the costs,” said Daniel Mahoney, a principal with NOI Hospitality.
A cost estimate was emailed to the staff and board members onthe day before the meeting but was not available at the meeting. Bringing inthe soil for the cost as it was discussed was a “reach” according to Ferraro.
“There is a public benefit here,” said Ferraro of the sidewalkand more than hinted at support of it from the board.
Safety concerns for patrons and community members who would use the sidewalk were brought up and a majority of the board used the opportunity to comment on that asset.
“I’m not generally a big sidewalk guy. I’ll be the first to say that there are times when we can get a little carried away with these things, but in this case given what’s going on, on that section of Route 9 and the businesses that are adjacent to this business, the likelihood that there will be foot traffic between those businesses and the fact that this has been part of the deal from day one … this is not something that got sprung on anybody late in the game. I think in this case it needs to be done,” said board member Joel Koval.
Koval said he could sympathize with the developer over the highcost, but is in favor of the sidewalk and noted that in the future the board would likely be looking for this type of public benefit from all developers.
Sidewalk connections have been supported in regional meetings, and attention has been given to walkability and the use of alternative modes of transportation on other projects, according to Scovo.